no rest for the wicked

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From the Book of Isaiah verses 48:22 and 57:20-21, originally Hebrew. First attested in English in 1535, in Coverdale Bible of Miles Coverdale.[1] Quoted in biblical sense for centuries, humorous secular sense popularized from 1930s, particularly due to use as title of popular Little Orphan Annie strip by Harold Gray in 1933.[1]


no rest for the wicked

  1. (literally) Eternal torment in hell awaits sinners.
  2. (humorous) People who are wicked must work harder than normal people.

Usage notes[edit]

Primarily used today for mild comic effect,[1] meaning “one must work (particularly because one has been lax)”, as in Annie usage.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 No rest for the wicked” in Gary Martin, The Phrase Finder, 1997–, retrieved 26 February 2017.